Unibike catapult testing

Hey all,
I’ve just joined Greg and Bruce on the wheel seizure crash list. The culprit? That quick release wheel that’s been on my ‘modification procrastination’ list. During my recent vacation, I found that the skewer (in an old style frame with a horizontal axle slot) does not tighten enough to prevent the axle from being pulled forward by the chain, with or without the added jolt of a drop. I learned this somewhere between 10 and 15mph on level ground, when too much leg power caused the chain to pull the wheel forward, where it seized on the brake assembly. I treated a few Tulsa spectators to quite a spectacle, but somehow survived without a scratch, other than minor knee scrapes from the handlebars. I had expected crash characteristics to be much worse, but I was able to land on my feet before the tumble, in spite of the bars being in the way. The unibike was also undamaged. Judging by the greasy clothes, it obviously landed on the rider. The 661’s were of no help at all (they were safely stored in the back of the van). However, they paid for themselves a few days later when Tommy Thompson took me on a six-mile Memphis MUni ride, where I gained much experience with crashing techniques.

Morals of the story?

  1. Procrastination is dangerous. I was going to change that axle months ago due to slippage during drops. It’s now a higher priority.

  2. Protective gear won’t pay for itself if you don’t wear it!

Ouch, that’s a scary way to dismount. Would cutting the handlebar narrower help in emergency front UPDs? With a narrower handlebar you would be less likely to get your legs hung up on the handlebar during an eject. I’m amazed you landed on your feet.

Welcome to the club, you idiot. Didn’t you know being a test pilot is dangerous? I just bought some 661 gear and I, too, am saving it for MUni outings. I’ve splashed down on that pavement at high speed and I wouldn’t want to scrape up some new protective gear like that.

Glad to hear you’re OK. Did the frame hurt you or help you or were you going too fast to notice? For me, I was riding along, happy as could be and BANG I was face down on the pavement sliding in for the winning run head first. I never had time to react.

Whose sig file says, “I live life on the edge … sometimes I fall off”? Very appropriate.


I’ve got too much garbage on the bars to shorten them. Multiple brake and gear levers, speedo, mirror, maybe teeth in the future.:smiley: And I didn’t actually land on my feet. I just broke the fall, and then tumbled.


Guilty as charged. What do they call people who know the danger and do it anyway. Oh yeah, you already mentioned that. I don’t know about the frame. It happened in a flash. It was pure instinct that smoothed out the landing (42 years of falling down is bound to teach you something). I remember the bars grabbing my legs, but I apparently just pulled them forward in an attempt to get my feet on the ground. Next thing I knew, I was getting up checking for injuries. I was amazed to find none. After repositioning the wheel, I continued on my way, at a little slower pace, listening to an echo - ‘change that axle; change that axle; change that axle’.